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Monday, 7 March 2011

Things like countries

One way to develop further Souriau's idea of 'instaurer' is to think that things are more like countries than like babies. We shouldn't look so much for parents and gods but rather for diplomats, warriors and cartographers. Countries are often redrawn in the map, new countries emerge from existing ones etc. I always think that there should be a connection between the Kripkean idea that the reference of proper names relate to their name-giving act and Souriau's ontology of instauration (bringing about). If we consider things (and people, and places and whatever can bear proper names - or even beyond that limitation) in the way maps portray countries, we don't appeal much to descriptions to fix the reference (only to descriptions of the sort 'east of' etc). I grant that reference fixing without description is one strategy to bring about things, among others. But it is an interesting one. Once something is brought about, then it can be put to all sort of different uses and therefore be described in many ways. The fact that bringing about is often independent of the use we now give to something is what may somehow give the impression that the ultimate bringing about act was a creation ex nihilo

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